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  • Charlie Taylor

The Quiet Arrogance Of Jay-Z: One Thing That's Wrong With Tidal

I see you, Mr Carter.

Sorry Jay-Z, I will not be listening to your new album. Not that he cares about whether I listen or not. And before you, the reader, screw face at that, realise that THIS IS NOT A REVIEW SITE! This site is about opinions, creating conversation, highlighting experiences & teaching Hip-Hop. If you want a review of Jay-Z's new project "4:44", then go to every other Hip-Hop site, I'm not about that review life. But, instead of being anywhere else, you're here and I appreciate you for that.

So, let's get into the reason I won't be listening to "4:44". Now, don't get it twisted. I'd happily listen to it. But there's one thing that is holding me back. Tidal. Jay-Z's music streaming platform Tidal, links to and represents something that I've hated about gaming for years. It's one word. Exclusivity.

There are many things that I don't mind being exclusive. VIP to a concert, limited edition gear whether it be a pair of shoes or a basketball jersey. That is fine because people are able to cop those same concert tickets or shoes or jerseys, just without the extra perk.

That's kind of exclusivity is fine by me. The kind of exclusivity that Tidal has, irks me to my core. Let me explain.

As most of you know, Jay-Z has a major stake in Tidal. When Jay and tons of other artists promoted it on their respective social media accounts in 2015, they spreaded the hashtag #TIDALForAll. That is very funny to me. Because if you want to listen to, for example, Beyoncé's "Lemonade", you need Tidal. If you want to listen to "4:44", you need Tidal. If you want to deep dive into Jay's catalogue, you need Tidal.

Lucky they didn't use the hashtag #JAYZsCatalogueForAll, that would've been awkward.

The fact that you have to subscribe to Tidal in order to listen to Jay or Beyoncé, has a tinge of arrogance to me. As if they're saying to me "You're such a slave to my music, you'll buy this service just to listen to my music". I, for one, am not that person. I like listening to Jay-Z, but not enough to get Tidal. Even if it was Kendrick, I couldn't do it.

Now I don't mind a temporary method. When Kanye West dropped "The Life of Pablo", he exclusively put it on Apple Music for a week and then released it everywhere else. That, I don't mind, because it creates a buzz for the others that have to wait a week. Similar to showing a film in select cinemas before general release. But doing it forever, no, you're basically shutting the door to people that don't have it.

And surely most of you had a streaming service before Tidal was even a thing. Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Apple, Google Play, everybody has one. Tidal comes in and expects everybody to move over? Nah, I am okay. I've had Deezer for years and Spotify for a year as part of my Phone package. I am good for streaming!

Like I said earlier, this is similar to why I don't enjoy gaming anymore. The exclusivity is something I hate. Music and games are for the people. The fact that companies like Sony, Microsoft and Tidal do this, makes it more of a money grab than pleasing the "die hard fans".


I wanted to play "Metal Gear Solid 4", but I couldn't, because I had an XBox and it was only on PlayStation. I don't like the fact that I have to get this entirely different platform in order to get this one thing. No. I can't subscribe to this attitude.

Jay-Z and Tidal represents an attitude I hate about companies that claim to be for the people but, to me, just sends the message that "If you're not willing to pay, you're not getting this." From a gaming standpoint, it's more expensive, I know that. But music is more widespread. Everybody listens to music. And taking your music and making it exclusive to one platform is morally wrong to me.

It speaks to me, that the legendary Public Enemy drop an album FOR FREE on Bandcamp, a day before Jay's album drops. The difference there says a lot to me. Jay's album could be the greatest thing he's ever done. I bet I'm going to constantly see Jay lyrics on social media, but the dedication for Tidal is really not necessary to me.

Let me know if the album is good, I'll probably download it off the Internet a year after release like I did with Lemonade.


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